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Artist: Bijlert, Jan van 1 of 1

Man in Armour Holding a Pike, c. 1630

Jan van Bijlert

Dutch, 1597/98-1671
Oil on canvas
33-1/2 x 27-1/2 in. (85.1 x 69.9 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation
M.1978.18.P
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Jan van Bijlert was a prime exponent of the Utrecht school of painting in the seventeenth century. He had a predilection for simple, life-size half-figures and regularly painted both formal and allegorical portraits. However, the soldier’s theatrical pose, vigilant gaze and elaborate suit of armor argue against this being a portrait and in favor of its being a representation of a type of mythological personage, perhaps the god Mars. The elaborate sash and orange and blue feathers symbolize the forces of the United Netherlands and their fight against Spain during the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648).

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Artist: Bijlert, Jan van 1 of 1